A writer whose book I was editing said the above when I questioned something in her manuscript. I suggested she research the subject, and she became irate, a bit rude even. Because I was also contractually obligated to publish the book, I did the research myself and corrected the information in the story. Later, the writer mentioned my “absurd” request to another author who informed her that fiction must, indeed, fit the facts, be accurate, and pass the plausibility test. After a contrite apology, my writer never again challenged me when I advised her to confirm her info.
What does this have to do with blatant self-promotion? Think about it. If our stories don’t ring true, we can lose our readers. If we lose our readers, we won’t have an audience. If we don’t have an audience, we won’t sell books. If we don’t sell books because our stories don’t ring true, all the BSP in the world isn’t going to make any difference.
Why is accuracy so important in fiction? Our readers come from all walks of life, are often well-read, and many have extensive knowledge and experience. If our stories contain misinformation, inaccuracies, and impossibilities, our credibility as writers goes down the toilet. Even science fiction and fantasy need to be based on sound scientific principles, no matter if they’re set far in the future. The best writing in the world will not overcome deficiencies in the fact department.
Bottom line: be wise, be savvy, be accurate. And, of course, write well. Make the reader so eager for your next novel that she’s regularly checking your website for a release date. Then BSP can do its job to help sell your book.
So what do you think? Does fiction need to be factual?
|Linda Lane and her editing team mentor and encourage writers at all phases of the writing process. To learn more about what they do, please visit them at www.denvereditor.com.|